I now know that I am officially a "Mummy".
I know this because my 3 year old daughter reminds me at least 100 times a day. "Mummy, can I have a snack?", "Mummy, can I have a drink?", "Mummy, will you play with me?", "Mummy, I don't want to wear my trousers today", "Mummy, I need a wee wee......", "Muuummmmmyyyyyyy".
I also, now know, that the idealised version of motherhood I had in my head before my husband and I had ‘the’ discussion, and opted to start our family, was clearly blurred by hazy childhood memories of happily playing in paddling pools in my mums' back garden all summer long. I don’t remember noticing my mum getting frazzled by the constant demands for attention, food, drink, cuddles, etc. Neither do I remember her ever really telling me off. Of course she has recently told me the frazzled stories, but only after we had already had our first daughter. Bit late mum?.
We have 2 girls; 3 years, and 10 months. I love them to bits. But I am annoyed at the media portrayal of what is now termed “Yummy Mummies”. Who are these “Yummy Mummies” anyway? In the hopes of trying to discover for myself how it is, or maybe it isn’t, possible to be a mummy, and also to be yummy, I have started this blog to share my thoughts and perhaps shed some light on the matter.
I, as you have probably already worked out, am quite often slightly frazzled. No, scrap that. I’m very frazzled, almost all of the time. This, in the quiet hour after the girls have gone to sleep, is usually my “collapse in front of the telly with hubby” time. But in the interests of gaining some me time (for us both - he’s in the gym), I am treating myself to some cathartic ramblings.
I thought I’d share a story about today’s minor breakdown. It started simply enough. My husband asked if it was OK for him to go and cut the lawn. Nothing wrong there. He asked me - he’s incredibly polite and thoughtful, and it was a dry day - a rare treat this summer so obviously the timing was appropriate. I think the only real problem was that I hadn’t expected it. I’d got the rest of the day planned out roughly in my head, and my hubby disappearing to cut our lawn hadn’t featured. (He would now point out that he had warned me he’d try and do it this weekend on Friday night - so sorry hun - I’m clearly a frazzled mummy with no brain cells left!)
I thought about it, had a minor freak out (I knew the job would take all afternoon - it’s a huge lawn and he’d left it a while), and told him to go and do it, of course.
So, all’s well so far. The youngest is having an afternoon nap. Only the eldest to contend with. Fine.
I tried to make a cup of tea. Not once. Not twice. But four times. Over the course of an hour. I never got that cup of tea. The eldest wanted to play. Then she wanted a drink. Then she had an ‘accident’ and we had to find new trousers. Then she wanted to play some more. Then we went outside to ‘help’ daddy cut the lawn by picking up the grass cuttings in our little wheelbarrow and watered the plants with out little watering can. That was my genius half hour that. I was, still am, proud of that. She loved it, but got so engrossed playing; making cups of tea with her tea set and the watering can; that she had another ‘accident‘. She is supposedly potty trained, but has crazy days like this sometimes.
Our youngest woke up. Now this, I think, is where it started to go a bit downhill. They don’t particularly play well together. Our youngest wants to eat everything (including her older sister) as she’s teething. The eldest wants to play with her dressing up table and jewellery, but won’t let her sister near it. If the youngest just toddles over for a look, her sister shouts and screams and runs across the room to find another corner to play in.
So literally 15 minutes after the youngest woke up; I have her screaming for attention, and for the use of at least one toy. The eldest taking all toys off the youngest, because as soon as she’s got it sister wants it. Me trying to get the eldest to help me tidy up. And the eldest screaming because I asked her to stop kicking me.
Cue Naughty Step. More screaming. A tantrum (in my head). Another more hysterical tantrum (The eldest this time). The youngest picking up the tune. An apology. And a very upset mummy shouting for daddy "any chance you can be finished about now?".
I might not have made it clear but I held it together (outwardly) right up to the apology. Then, once it was all done and back to normal (The youngest's usual crying whilst changing her nappy I could cope with normally), I broke down in tears.
I have never cried so often as since I had children. So here I ask, and it’ll be the first of many times I ask this I suspect, how can you be ‘yummy’ when you’re too busy giving out so much of yourself that you end up in tears?
And then, more tears, as I walked back into our playroom after drying my eyes to find that the eldest had tidied up. “There you are mummy” she said. “It’s all tidy now” and she came and gave my a big unsolicited cuddle.